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mainstreaming cancer genetics: getting the most out of genetic testing

An individual’s genetic blueprint holds vital information that can be used to improve their clinical management should they ever get cancer, and to provide better information and risk-reducing strategies for their relatives. However, current availability of genetic testing remains very restricted, even though new testing methods can potentially be used quickly, affordably and on a large-scale.

The SMC invited four experts from genetics and oncology to brief journalists on the challenges and opportunities of bringing genetic testing into routine cancer care. They answered questions such as:

  • Has the promise of genetic testing delivered on expectations?
  • Do technological advances mean that mainstream genetic testing is now possible?
  • How can complex genetic information be rapidly translated into clinical action?
  • Should cancer patients be offered routine cancer testing and how can barriers to this in the NHS be overcome?
  • Does genetic testing actually lead to cancer prevention?



Professor Nazneen Rahman, Head of Division of Genetics and Epidemiology, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, & Head of the Cancer Genetics Clinical Unit, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust

Professor Peter Donnelly, Director, Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics (WTCHG), Professor of Statistical Science, University of Oxford

Professor Martin Gore, Medical Director, Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Professor of Cancer Medicine, The Institute of Cancer Research, London

Dr Clare Turnbull, Team Leader in Division of Genetics, The Institute of Cancer Research, London, & Consultant in Clinical Genetics, Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 

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